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Article Title:
>From Fit to Stretch: Skills for Creating Success On Your Terms

Article Description:
Abraham Maslow once said we long to be "that which we glimpse 
in our most perfect moments."   But, he also pointed out we are 
often afraid to live up to the potential we see in those moments.

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1176 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Wed Apr 19 15:00:04 EDT 2006

Written By:     Bruce Elkin
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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>From Fit to Stretch: Skills for Creating Success On Your Terms
Copyright © 2006 Bruce Elkin
Personal Life Coaching Services

Abraham Maslow once said we long to be "that which we glimpse 
in our most perfect moments."   But, he also pointed out we are 
often afraid to live up to the potential we see in those moments.

As years pass and we fail to act on what we could be, the 
glimpses fade.

Instead of filling us with hope, our fantasies of success often 
trigger doubts, regret, and fear.  In the success of others, we 
recognize our own failed potential.

We wonder, why can't I have the life and work I long for?

Why can't I succeed on my own terms?

Well, if you're willing to try something new, you just might be 
able to do so.


Succeeding on your own terms is about creating what matters most 
to you.

It is, as late folksinger Kate Wolf sang, about finding something 
you really care about, and living a life that shows it.

But most of us do not know what we really care about.  Or, if we 
do, we do not know how to consciously create it.  No one, not our 
parents, not our teachers, not our bosses, taught us how, because 
no one taught them how, either.

So, by default, we react and respond to circumstances.

We focus on solving our most pressing problems.  We sometimes 
succeed at things we think we "should" succeed at.  But, because 
we don't know how to bring into being results we truly want, we 
rarely succeed at what matters most to us.

But, you might ask, what about all the coaching, career planning, 
consulting, and goal-setting approaches?  Can't they help us 
figure out what matters?  Can't they help us achieve the results 
we want?

Sometime, yes.  But more often than not, they don't help as much 
we would like.


At its best, conventional career planning is a kind of personal 
strategic planning.

You assess your resources, note your problems and weaknesses, set 
"realistic" goals, and then take action.  You fit your goals to 
what you know you can do.

But, even in business, experts tell us this kind of planning 
doesn't work well.

"As ‘strategy' has blossomed," says Harvard business professor 
Gary Hamel, "the competitiveness of Western companies has 
withered."  Hamel, co-author of Competing for the Future, says 
fitting goals to resources is a recipe for mediocrity.

So what are we to do?

"Set no small goals," an old saw suggests, "for they lack power 
to stir our souls."

Successful goal-setters-in business and life-stretch for what 
matters.  They create a "chasm" between their vision and their 
current reality.  Creating stretch between vision and reality, 
says Hamel, is the single most important task" individuals and 
companies can undertake.

So, in spite of limited time, resources, and energy, truly 
successful people set "big hairy audacious goals," and then do 
what it takes to achieve them.  Realistic goals then become 
strategic stepping stones to success.


"Successful creators," says my mentor Robert Fritz, "are 
sometimes conventional, but more often inventional."  They know 
what they want.  They know what they have.  And they know how 
to bridge the gap between the two.

How?  Simple, he says, "They make it up!"

Fritz suggest an approach that is driven by vision, rooted in 
reality, and uses creative tension to energize and guide creative 
action toward desired results.

VISION:  All creators begin with a vision-a clear, compelling 
picture of a result they want to create.  Vision doesn't have to 
be perfect; it just has to be clear enough that you'd recognize 
your result if you created it.

You don't have to believe your result is possible, or have all 
skills or resources when you start.  Creating is about learning, 
experimenting, and inventing what you need to produce what you 
want to create.

The key is to separate what you want from what you believe 
possible or realistic.  Stretch!  Go for what matters to you, 
regardless of what you have.

CURRENT REALITY:  Although successful action is driven by vision, 
you must root it in an objective and accurate assessment of 
current reality.

Be honest with yourself about where you are and what you have.

Making things better than they are, or worse, distorts reality 
and makes your foundation for action less solid.  So describe 
reality, don't judge it!  Be objective about what happens to 
you and about what you have.  It'll give you more power.

CREATIVE TENSION: Holding vision and reality in mind 
simultaneously sets up a useful creative tension, which produces 
excitement, anticipation, and a desire to act.

Creative tension is the engine of creativity, and the true source 
of success.

Creative tension forms in the gap between vision and reality.  It 
sets up a magnetic pull-a kind of attraction-between where you 
are, and where you want to be.

Your challenge is to use creative tension to energize and guide 
your actions so you move toward desired results.  Vision is 
important, but creative tension generates the real power you need 
to create what matters to you.

CREATE AND ADJUST:  When vision is clear and compelling, and 
grounded in an objective assessment of current reality, you can 
use the energy of creative tension to take action, and build 
bridges to your dreams.

If the conventional works, fine.  But if it doesn't, you can 
experiment, innovate, invent, and create what you need to produce 
the results you most want to create.

Create and adjust.  Learn from mistakes and successes.   Start 
small and create small successes.  That builds momentum. 
Momentum is as important-or more-than motivation, because it 
keeps you going when motivation wanes.

FOLLOW THROUGH TO COMPLETION: Use momentum to follow through 
to completion.  Celebrate your success, and use the energy of 
completion to start your next creation.

By crafting clear, compelling visions and grounding them in 
objective reality, we set up creative tension that energizes our 
actions and guides us toward the results we most want-and toward 
who we most want to be.


We do not have to fear what we glimpse in our most perfect 

And those enticing glimpses do not have to fade.  They can become 
the source of visions that you turn into successful results.

The key to succeeding on your own terms is honoring those 
glimpses, and then creating your unique bridge from where you are 
to where you most want to be.  If you don't have what you need, 
make it up; create it.

When you're setting goals, remember: Stretch, don't fit.

Clearly specify and articulate the results you most want. 
Clarify reality.  Then bridge the gap between vision and reality 
with persistent, creative action.

When I suggest this approach to clients, some are skeptical at 
first.  "It sounds too out there," they say.

But, once they grasp the power of the creating process to produce 
outstanding results with limited resources, they admit, "Well, 
the planning I do now doesn't produce the results I really want. 
Maybe this can help me become what I've always suspected I could 

In most cases, they're right.

Bruce Elkin is a 20-year life coach.  He works with high 
potential people who are stuck, stalled, or drifting.  He 
helps you create what matters-in spite of problems or obstacles. 
* Get his new ebook Emotional Mastery: Manage Your Moods and 
Create What Matters Most—With Whatever Life Gives You! at:



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